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22 May 2024

Revealed: younger employees’ benefits wish list for 2024

Young employees demand better support with their finances and wellbeing, says survey

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Younger employees want better financial support and more wellbeing benefits, as they continue to bear the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis.

More than two-thirds (67%) of young workers say the crisis has changed their outlook on what is important, altering the popularity of more ‘traditional’ benefits such as season ticket loans.

Businesses that are failing to meet these needs risk missing out on talent – 62% of young people would now leave their job if they were offered a better benefits package elsewhere.

Increased financial support and benefits that promote better wellbeing top the list of younger employees’ wants for 2024, according to new research from employee benefits technology company  Zest.

What younger employees want

The most desired benefits for employees aged 18-34 are:

  • 1. Increased pension contributions (27%)
  • 2. Private medical insurance (26%)
  • 3. Paid mental health leave (24%)
  • 4. Employer contribution to energy costs at home (21%)
  • 5. Discounts on high street shops and brands (20%)

The most popular benefits highlight the growing demand by younger employees for employers to better support their finances, and overall wellbeing, as they in particular continue to struggle with rising living costs.

Around seven in 10 (67%) say the cost-of-living crisis has changed what they consider to be important and the same proportion (67%) would like more financial support from their employer.

With a rise in hybrid working, more ‘traditional’ company perks such as assistance with travel costs are less interesting.

Among some of the most unpopular benefits was a season ticket loan (4%) while less than one in 10 (8%) want a cycle to work scheme.

On the contrary, wellbeing benefits are on the rise – 31% of younger employees say that they want more, again higher than the average of 24%.

Decline in mental wellbeing

According to other research, a quarter of those asked say their mental wellbeing has never been worse because of money worries, increasing to more than a third (36%) of 25-34 year olds.

The link between poor finances and poor mental wellbeing could explain why a quarter (24%) of 18-34 year olds now want paid mental health leave – higher than the average of 18%.

As younger generations increasingly populate the workforce, listening to their needs is critical. More than half (57%) of this demographic now say that benefits packages are the most important thing they look for in employment, and 62% say that they would leave their current job if someone offered them better benefits elsewhere.

With three in 10 (29%) businesses unable to raise salaries in line with inflation, employee benefits are a key way employers can support young workers in other ways beyond salary.

The need for better benefits

Matt Russell, CEO of Zest says: “Never has the need for effective benefits packages been more apparent. With many businesses unable to raise salaries during the cost-of-living crisis, benefits provide a way to support employees with their finances and overall wellbeing, both of which are being affected by the crisis.

“With the new hybrid world of work clearly established, more ‘traditional’ benefits such as support with travel costs have become outdated.

“Modern employees who work from home for half of the week, or entirely remotely, will benefit very little from a season ticket loan and, according to our findings, would be far better off with paid mental health leave to use at their discretion.”

Russell added: “With younger employees – who often place more value on benefits than older generations – increasingly populating the workforce, businesses that are unable to effectively deliver on their needs will miss out in more ways than one.”

In partnership with Zest

Zest is the next generation platform that’s reinventing the world of employee benefits.

Contact us today